The movies of Umberto Lenzi that have been cut or banned in Australia.
See also, PARANOIA (1969) and A QUIET PLACE TO KILL (1970) in the Film Censorship Database No. 2.
The Man from Deep River
Directed by Umberto Lenzi / 1972 / Italy / IMDb
In September 1973, a 2499:00-meter (91:05) print of THE MAN FROM DEEP RIVER was passed with an R-rating.
The distributor, House of Dare, had removed approximately two-minutes of footage before submission.
Shane Harrison reports.
I saw an uncut print of MAN FROM DEEP RIVER theatrically in Melbourne in 1974. At the time, if a film was on in the city and at the drive-ins, prints would sometimes differ with not all copies conforming to the Censorship Board’s approved version. I think that extra prints may have been sourced from outside Australia to keep up with demand.
In the early 1980s, Video Classics released a heavily cut 86:52 (PAL) version of MAN FROM DEEP RIVER on tape.
This was reviewed by the Censorship Board in February 1984 and confirmed with an R-rating.
Video Classics cuts
Video Classics (VC) – 86:52 (PAL)
Uncut – 93:11 (NTSC) ≈ 89:27 (PAL)
20:10 – Two natives have their tongues cut off.
37:52 – The first native stops having sex with the widow. He gets off and she is shown lying naked before another native gets on top and starts having sex.
52:35 – Shot of the monkey having the top of its head sliced off. The brain-eating remains.
60:52 to 61:23 – John (Ivan Rassimov) gets on top of the naked Maraya (Me Me Lai) and they kiss.
64:56 to 65:34 – Maraya strips naked, and gets on top of John. They start having sex.
66:02 – Some of the killing of the crocodile has been censored, although the VC version does show quite a lot. Umberto Lenzi reused this scene in EATEN ALIVE (1980). I do not know if it was complete in the VC release of that film.
70:47 – All shots of the cannibals lying on top of the native girl and raping her have been removed.
72:31 – John watching on as the cannibals eat the body of the native girl. Again, Lenzi reused this scene for EATEN ALIVE (1980) and again, I do not know if it was complete in the VC release of that film.
74:05 – John cutting off the cannibal’s tongue.
77:25 – Brief cut to the shot of the old native woman having her hand cut off.
87:13 – The goat having its throat cut. The VC tape shows the start of the scene.
It is odd that a couple of the sex scenes have been cut, as they are quite tame.
Equally strange is that the killings of the crocodile and goat have been shortened. However, the animal violence of the mongoose vs. cobra (also edited into EATEN ALIVE) and the cockfight look intact.
Uncut pirate DVD
In the late 2000s, unauthorised copies of the uncut (93:06 NTSC) American Shriek Show release appeared in Australia. Apart from an added R18+ rating, the cover was the same.
Copies were distributed through stores and markets that sold cheap DVDs.
Directed by Umberto Lenzi / 1980 / Italy / IMDb
In August 1980, a 2342.59-meter (85:23) print of EATEN ALIVE was passed with an R-rating. It was awarded for sex and violence, which were described as being:
Although the Censorship Board ‘Registered R without eliminations’, it had been pre-cut before submission. The uncut version runs over six-minutes longer.
House of Dare was the applicant.
In February 1984, an 85-minute tape of EATEN ALIVE was passed with an R-rating. The actual running time of the Video Classics Gold release was 82:27 (PAL).
This may have been the same as the theatrical version as it is also missing over six-minutes of footage.
It features one of Australia’s most lurid video covers.
There is one report of customs confiscating EATEN ALIVE in the early 1990s.
1991 October – VHS.
See also NEKROMANTIK (1987) in the Film Censorship Database No. 1 for more information regarding this case.
In 2006, unauthorised copies of the uncut (92:20 NTSC) American Shriek Show DVD appeared in Australia.
Copies were distributed through outlets that sold cheap DVDs. The R18+ (Strong violence, Strong sexual content, Nudity) rating was fake.
The cover makes no mention of it, but it contains the same extras as the Shriek Show disc.
Greatest Italian cannibal hits
Umberto Lenzi edited the following footage into EATEN ALIVE.
THE MAN FROM DEEP RIVER (1972)
The killing of the crocodile, the mongoose vs. cobra and the cannibal scene where the woman’s breast is eaten.
SLAVE OF THE CANNIBAL GOD (1978)
The killing of the iguana, the snake vs. bird scene and the cannibal castration and stabbing.
LAST CANNIBAL WORLD (1977)
The death and cannibalism of Pulan (Me Me Lai).
All three of these Italian cannibal films had problems in Australia. They are covered individually in Film Censorship Database No. 1.
What Lenzi did next
In between EATEN ALIVE and CANNIBAL FEROX (1981), Umberto Lenzi directed NIGHTMARE CITY (1980). The National Classification Database records Filmways as receiving an M-rating for an 88-minute videotape in February 1984. This is suspiciously low for such a violent zombie film.
This may have been the same 87:36 version that VTC released in the UK. Movie-Censorship documents the 01:16 of cuts that were made to that tape. The Australian connection is that Filmways linked up with VTC to distribute movies through K-Tel Video.
If this tape was ever released, then it is incredibly rare as no copies have yet to surface.
Many of the violent scenes, identified as CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD, were edited into TERROR ON TAPE (1983). This compilation of splatter scenes from various horror movies was banned by the Film Censorship Board in March 1985.
See the separate entry for this title for more information.
aka Woman from Deep River
Directed by Umberto Lenzi / 1981 / Italy / IMDb
In March 1982, a 2454.14-meter (89:27) print of CANNIBAL FEROX was passed with an R-rating.
It was awarded for violence, which was said to be:
…and for ‘Drugs’.
Although it was not noted, approximately three-minutes was removed before submission.
Superstar International Films was the applicant. The daybill credits Associated Film Distributors.
In Australia, the film was renamed WOMAN FROM DEEP RIVER. It was under this title that it was submitted to the Censorship Board and released theatrically and on video.
This was done to cash in on the popularity of Umberto Lenzi’s THE MAN FROM DEEP RIVER (1972), which had been a drive-in favourite throughout the 1970s.
Video No. 1
WOMAN FROM DEEP RIVER was released on tape by Video Classics. It ran 85:59 (PAL) and was presumably the same as the theatrical version.
This tape was reviewed by the Censorship Board in 1984 and confirmed with an R-rating.
The following scenes were missing.
43:04- Close up of a native’s eye being cut out by Mike (Giovanni Lombardo Radice).
51:46- Natives opening up Joe’s (Walter Lucchini) stomach, eating his intestines, then turning, and walking away.
54:35- Mike’s penis being cut off.
54:56- Shot of Salvation Army Band playing in New York. This is followed by a car pulling up next to Mike’s girlfriend, Myrna (Fiamma Maglione), and two men getting out.
Myrna – ‘Why do you want to meet out here? Did Mike send you? Where is Mike?’
Man 1 – ‘Don’t worry honey, you know very well where that son of a bitch is and you’re going to tell us.’
Man 2 – ‘Come on bitch, where’s your stud?’ He then hits her twice in the face.
Myrna – ‘I don’t know where Mike is.’
Man 2- ‘Wrong answer.’ He then kicks her in the face.
Myrna- ‘Lay off me you bastards.’
75:04- Close-up of the hook entering Pat’s (Zora Kerova) breast and a shot of her screaming.
77:57- Slow zoom into Pat hanging with the hooks through her breasts.
78:51- Mike under the table with the top of his head missing, followed by two cannibals taking pieces of his brain.
Video No. 2
In 1995, a second VHS release appeared, this time on a ‘no name’ label.
Ben reports that it ran 88-minutes and not the 95-minutes listed on the box. Despite being cut, it was not a direct copy of the Video Classics tape as the interrogation and beating of Myrna (54:56) was reinstated.
In February 2005, Siren Visual Entertainment released CANNIBAL FEROX on DVD. The disc was complete at 88:57 (PAL).
It was the first time it had appeared in Australia under its original title.
Protecting Australia’s border
There is one report of customs confiscating CANNIBAL FEROX.
2005 July – DVD, Sazuma Productions Ultrabit Edition (Austria).
…under subsection 203B(2) being goods suspected on reasonable grounds to be special fortified goods.
…an authorised person believes person believes on reasonable grounds that the said goods are forfeited to the Crown pursuant to Section 229 of the Customs Act 1901. The above DVD is deemed to breach Regulation 4A(1A)(a) of the customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations.– Seizure Notice
– Australian Customs Service